V.V. Brown

Travelling Like the Light

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Its lengthy incubation process notwithstanding, V.V. Brown's clever debut album, Travelling Like the Light, is as genuine, natural, and deep as mishmash throwback pop can get. There are a couple contemporary moments, like "Shark in the Water," featuring strummy verses and a surging chorus, but the album mostly shoots forth nods to R&B and rock & roll of the '50s, '60s, and '70s that are relentlessly playful, whether the lyrics reveal tears, daggers, or butterflies. Brown, an English songwriter who has written hits for the Pussycat Dolls and Sugababes, is bound to provoke comparisons with Janelle MonĂ¡e for her retro look and boundless energy, but she's closer to being the child of Kirsty MacColl and the sibling of Jazmine Sullivan, messing with pop traditions as she courts and reprimands with a large, youthful voice that positively dances.

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